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The Rage: Carrie 2

movie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Rage: Carrie 2

Starring: Amy Irving, Emily Bergl
Director: Katt Shea Ruben
Rated: R
RunTime: 90 Minutes
Release Date: March 1999
Genre: Horror

*Also starring: Jason London, Dylan Bruno, Rachel Blanchard, John Doe, Gordon Clapp

Review by Jerry Saravia
No Rating Supplied

Now imagine a teenage story of a goth high-school student unable to connect to any of her peers - she remains a social outcast. Now imagine that a football jock is piqued by her beauty, or the beauty he sees in her soul, and asks her out on a date. Now further imagine how all the jock's friends are going to react, sensing that a gothic weirdo has no place in their circles. Now sit down, close your eyes, relax, and consider this plot for a moment. Sure, cliches abound like fireflies, and yes, it almost sounds like a Molly Ringwald movie or one of those old girl-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks movies that go back as far as the 30's, if not further. Ask yourself one question: does this sound like the plot for a horror movie like "Carrie"? Hmmm...don't think so.

"The Rage: Carrie 2" is a preposterous medley of the teen romance and horror film genres. What makes it doubly preposterous is that it tries to be a psychological horror film about an outcast and manages to squander its premise with a relatively "normal" teenager who would never be confused for a Sissy Spacek clone.

The goth girl of "Carrie 2" is Rachel (Emily Bergl), a lonely teen student with a best friend (Mena Sevauri) whose only connection to her seems to be matching heart tatoos. Rachel's home life is perfunctory at best, living with abusive, uncaring stepparents. You see Rachel's mother went to a mental institution, for reasons never made entirely clear, and so Rachel got foster care and adopted an attitude. Several years later, she attends a high school where the football season is all that matters, the jocks hate her, the girls are all treated like sluts, and a suicide is seen so matter-of-factly by the student body that one of them even takes a picture with the remark, "cool!" Not a fitting environment for Rachel, who only wishes she could be like them, but resents them all the same, or so we believe. It turns out one jock (Jeremy London) feels connected to her in some way, and asks her out much to the chagrin of his fellow buddies.

Rachel now has a boyfriend, but is still saddened by her best friend's suicide. The guidance counselor, Sue Snell (Amy Irving, returning from the original "Carrie") tries to help Rachel, fearing that her telekinetic powers (such as moving Sue's paper weights in the office) may lead to a repeat of Carrie's actions from the past. And on and on, as we are treated to a lot of male bonding scenes between football jocks, a dog is nearly run over, Rachel's house is nearly vandalized, and so on. There is the obligatory set-up of the evil teens siding with Rachel, making friends with her, until we are treated to a humiliating, carnage-packed climax with nerves popping out of Rachel's skin...well, you get the idea.

To be fair, there are some very good scenes in the film revolving around Rachel's relationship with the "good" jock, who does love her (the cafe scene and their love scene in the car are effective). I also liked the early, all too brief scenes with Mena Sevauri as Rachel's sad friend.

Emily Bergl has charisma to spare, and has some startling, witchlike eyes - it is hard to take your eyes off her. But why would anyone think she is ugly? She is not that Gothic anyway, more toned down than say Fairuza Balk's character in "Urban Legend." Bergl is beautiful and so the basic premise - social outcast gets revenge on tormenting teens - does not resonate as it did in the original "Carrie." Carrie White was utterly defenseless and often humiliated - she was made to feel worthless and her telekinetic prowess was her only salvation. In this film, Rachel seems to handle herself rather well, and is only humiliated once prior to the bloody climax. The buildup is not there for us to sympathize with her need to kill all the jocks and cheerleaders.

"The Rage: Carrie 2" is not really comprised of much rage or fury to speak of. It is not boring and it is often watchable, but the melding of such genres does not make for a cohesive whole. It all goes downhill with the unnecessarily gory and unpleasant climax that will leave you reeling as to why so many teens had to die (especially the good to merely decent). Bring back Sissy Spacek!

Copyright 1999 Jerry Saravia

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